Those five years in between screenings have gone way too fast for me. It’s time again for my colonoscopy. Say it ain’t so! After breast cancer in 2004, I am advised to begin colorectal cancer screening. Women with breast cancer, I’m told, can develop polyps, which can develop into colon cancer. Thus, the recommendation for screening.
For obvious reasons, I find it so utterly unappealing. I delay it as long as possible, until all of my doctors put their feet down and demand I get a colonoscopy. I have my first one in 2009.
Based on that normal report, I negotiate with my gynecologist at my recent annual appointment. I want to wait two more years for my next colonoscopy. She refuses, shaking her head back and forth. “No, no, no. Absolutely not,” she says. I beg, borrow, and plead with her, moaning and droning about how horribly sick I was from the prep I did. The Gatorade. Bleh. The Miralax. Puke. The stool softener. Gross. I was queasy and gassy for almost a week after the procedure, I exclaim. She doesn’t budge. “Norma,” she says sternly, “Look at how much you’ve done to stay alive. Removing your breasts, your ovaries. You need this colonoscopy. How about we do this? You have a colonoscopy now. If it’s normal like the last one, we think about going every seven years?” I concede. She makes a very rational argument.
This time around I go to a different GI group. My pre-procedure appointment with the nurse practitioner has me optimistic things will be different. She prescribes Suprep, a different “cleansing” procedure than what I did last time. She assures me this one, unlike the Miralax prep, will not make me sick. I sure hope so.
Prep day arrives. I follow all of the instructions to a T. Well, almost. Three quarters of the way through drinking the first dose, I start gagging on the prep. Since I’m an adult in a child size body, I rationalize, I conclude I’ve drank enough and it should do the job. I pour the remainder down the drain. And thankfully, what’s in me makes its way out. The same for round two the following morning. The Suprep turns out to be pretty super!
I am so grateful I have no urges to puke. In fact, all I can do is think about food. And eating. And food. And eating. By 7 am the day of my colonoscopy I am starving. STARVING, I tell you. I haven’t been this hungry since I can’t remember when. The joy of eating a meal gets me through my IV hook-up. The anesthesiologist and I crack a few jokes before he puts me to sleep. I wake up in recovery to wonderful news. My colonoscopy is normal. I breathe a sigh of relief. Thank you Suprep for making it a tolerable experience. When I arrive home, I make a beeline to the kitchen and immediately rummage through the refrigerator for something to eat. Alas, my hunger pains subside.